Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed an decree that Russia recognizes Crimea as a sovereign and independent state. Crimea held a referendum on Sunday with over 96% voting for integration into Russia.
“According to the will of the peoples of the Crimea on the all-Crimean referendum held on March 16, 2014, [I order] to recognize the Republic of Crimea, in which the city of Sevastopol has a special status, as a sovereign and independent state,” the document reads.
The order comes into force immediately.
Crimea was declared an independent sovereign state, the Republic of Crimea, on Monday, the autonomous Ukrainian regional parliament’s website stated.
Crimea also addressed the UN seeking recognition as a sovereign state.
“The Republic of Crimea intends to build its relations with other states on the basis of equality, peace, mutual neighborly cooperation, and other generally agreed principles of political, economic and cultural cooperation between states,” the parliament said.
The Crimean parliament also unanimously voted to integrate the region into Russia.
The parliament’s resolution comes after Sunday’s referendum which resulted in over 96 percent of voters answering ‘yes’ to the autonomous republic joining Russia. The overall voter turnout in the referendum was 81.37%, according to the head of the Crimean parliament’s commission on the referendum, Mikhail Malyshev.
The international reaction to the Crimea’s referendum and its resolution was the implementation of sanctions. On Monday the EU and US slapped visa bans and financial restrictions against Russian and Ukrainian officials.
The White House stated that “the actions and policies” of the Russian government with respect to Ukraine “undermine democratic processes” and “threaten its peace,” sanctioning 11 officials. While the EU late on Monday introduced a list of 21 Russian and Crimean political figures that will be sanctioned for 6 months.